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National Study of Family Treatment Court Best Practices, Outcomes, and Costs

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $856,308)

This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. The OJJDP Fiscal Year 2018 Family Drug Court Research and Evaluation Program furthers the Department’s mission/Attorney General’s priorities to reduce substance abuse (including opioid abuse) by supporting rigorous research and evaluation efforts that inform the development of and improvements to family drug courts (FDCs) designed to address parental substance abuse and promote family reunification. Northwest Professional Consortium, Inc. (NPC) will conduct a rigorous, multi-method study that will enhance the field’s understanding of best practices in FDCs, identify which families are best served in FDCs, and calculate FDC outcomes, costs and benefits. This study focuses on examining which program practices are associated with positive outcomes. It will also identify strategies FDCs are using to meet the specific needs of individuals with opiate addiction, analyze the outcomes and costs of FDCs, and identify the core practices of FDCs that are most strongly related to positive outcomes that can be used by any dependency court and child welfare collaboration.

Two integrated and complementary study components comprise the proposed research project, an FDC Best Practice Study (BPS) and an FDC Outcome and Cost Study (OCS). These studies will fill significant gaps in the field’s understanding of FDCs. Specifically, the BPS will: (1) examine the policies and practices of FDCs nationwide; (2) assess the extent to which the policies and practices of FDCs are aligned with current best practice standards; (3) describe the characteristics of FDCs; (4) describe eligibility requirements; and (5) estimate the number and characteristics of families served by FDCs across the country. The OCS will: (1) synthesize extant published and unpublished family drug court cost evaluations; (2) implement additional outcome and cost evaluations that reflect the diversity of FDCs across the country; (3) incorporate child, parent, and family outcomes; and (4) determine what FDC practices are related to improved outcomes and cost savings.

NPC will collaborate with National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Children and Family Futures, the State Drug Court Coordinators, and federal agencies to disseminate findings broadly through list serves, websites, newsletters, trainings, and conferences. NPC will also reach out to Child Welfare League of America and the Children’s Bureau to extend the impact of this research. Additional deliverables will include practitioner-friendly overviews and interim reports that highlight the research and findings as they are developed over the life of the project, detailed progress reports to OJJDP, and a final report suitable for submission to a refereed journal with an executive summary suitable for a nontechnical audience.


Date Created: September 25, 2018